Ms. First Lady, not just anybody

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sun Jul 11 03:11:27 UTC 2004

At 5:25 PM -0400 7/10/04, Carolina Jimenez-Marcos wrote:
>Being an Ella fan, I've heard "first lady of jazz" pretty often, because
>Ms. Fitzgerald wasn't just anybody, not because of her husbands. (Yes, I
>write Ms. with a period, as in Ms. Steinem's magazine.)
>As for second ladies, this article refers to the veep's woman.
>Pretty funny picture of Lynne Cheney is here.

not particularly authorized, but amusing

>Just anybody is the negative of someone special, so "just anybody can't hop
>that fence," would mean that most people couldn't jump it, but Superman and
>certain Olympians could. Is that how you would read it?

Essentially, although I'm not entirely comfortable with calling "just
anybody" the negative of "someone special".  But the two are
definitely opposed in the sense you intend.  The former presupposes
that it doesn't matter who, while the latter (or, even more
obviously, "not just anybody") asserts that it does indeed matter.
Whence the labels I mentioned earlier:  "indiscriminative" vs.
"anti-indiscriminative".   Notice that the anti-indiscriminative also
occurs in the frame of "Chris isn't just any (old) linguist"--i.e.
Chris is a linguist, but a "special" one in some contextually given
sense; entirely distinct from "Chris isn't any linguist."  In this
context, the non-negative version, "Chris is (just) any (old)
linguist", is virtually impossible.


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